Farrier Schools

We often get calls and emails from people looking for farrier / horseshoeing schools.

We hope you find this helpful.

“Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” ― Mark Twain
  • Arkansas Horseshoeing School
    22285 State Highway 154
    Dardanelle, Arkansas 72834
    Phone: 479-858-1011
    Web site: www.arkansashorseshoeingschool.com
    Email: info@arkansashorseshoeingschool.com
  • Auburn Horseshoeing Program
    395 St. John Church Road
    Notasulga, AL 36866
    334-332-0545
  • Butler Professional Farrier School
    495 Table Road
    Crawford, Nebraska 69339
    Phone: 800-728-3826 (press 3)
    Or 308-665-1510
    Fax: 308-665-1520
    Web site: www.butlerprofessionalfarrierschool.com
    Email: info@butlerprofessionalfarrierschool.com
  • “C” Horse Forge School of Horseshoeing
    Corpus Christi/Padre Island, Texas USA
    Frank Cadena (Instructor) 361-232-3773
    web site: www.cadenaforge.com
    E-mail: ninac21wmg@hotmail.com
  • The Canadian Farrier School
    Calgary, Alberta Canada
    Gary Johnston – Instructor
    403-359-4424 or 403-458-4424
    web site: www.canadianfarrierschool.ca
    E-mail: gary@canadianfarrierschool.ca
  • The Canadian Horseshoeing School
    415316 41st Line, RR #2
    Embro, Ontario N0J 1J0 Canada
    519-349-2900
    web site: www.c-h-s.ca
    E-mail: chs@quadro.net
  • Carolina School of Horseshoeing LLC
    1937 West Palmetto Street
    PMB 1
    Florence, South Carolina 29501 USA
    843-230-1128
    email: carolinaschoolofhorseshoeing@yahoo.com
    web site: www.carolinaschoolofhorseshoeing.com
  • Casey & Son Horseshoeing School
    14013 East Highway 136
    LaFayette, Georgia 30728 USA
    706-397-8909
    web site: www.caseyhorseshoeing.com
    E-mail: RCaseySch@aol.com
  • Colorado School of Trades
    1575 Hoyt Street
    Lakewood, Colorado 80215 USA
    303-233-4697
  • Colorado State University
    Equine Sciences Department
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 USA
    970-491-8373
  • Cornell University Farrier Short Course
    Cornell University
    Ithaca, New York 14853 USA
    607-253-3127
    Web Site
  • Cowtown Horseshoeing School
    P.O. Box 841
    Miles City, Montana 59301 USA
    406-232-3362
    E-Mail: horseshoe@mcn.net
  • Danny Ward’s Horseshoeing School
    51 Ward Road
    Martinsville, Virginia 24114 USA
    540-638-7908
  • East Texas Horseshoeing Clinics
    and Horseshoeing How-To Video
    Route 4, Box 731
    Altanta, Texas 75551 USA
    903-796-9308
    E-mail: ethclinics@aol.com
    Web site: www.easttexashorseshoeing.com
  • Education Center of Japan Farriers Association
    1829-2
    Tsuruta, Utsunomiya
    Tochigi, 320 Japan
    0286-48-0007
  • Equine Educational Services
    P.O. Box 413
    O’Fallon, Illinois 62269 USA
    618-632-7921
    E-mail: equine74@hotmail.com
  • Far Hills Forge
    2391 Ringhoffer Road
    Bethlehem, PA 18015 USA
    610-748-8775
    cell: 908-797-4433
  • Five Star Horseshoeing School
    Rt. 2 Box 420
    Minco, OK 73059 USA
    405-352-5920
    Web site
  • Heartland Horseshoeing School
    327 SW 1st Lane
    Lamar, Missouri 64759 USA
    417-682-6896
    Web Site
  • Kentucky Horseshoeing School
    3612 Lexington Road
    Richmond, Kentucky 40475
    800-626-5359
    859-575-4063
    859-575-4068 (fax)
    E-Mail
    Web site: www.kentuckyhorseshoeingschool.com
    Owner: Mitch Taylor
  • Kwantlen University College Langley Campus
    P.O. Box 9030
    Surrey, British Columbia V3T 5H8 Canada
    604-599-3229
  • Lookout Mountain School of Horseshoeing
    400 Lewis Road
    Gadsden, Alabama 35901 USA
    205-546-2036
    E-mail: tmcnew@microxl.com
    web site: www.horseshoeingschool.net
  • Maryland Horseshoeing School
    11200 Wolfsville Rd.
    Smithsburg, Maryland 21783 USA
    (301)416-0800
    E-mail: mdhorseshoeing@xecu.net
    web site: www.lrn2shoe.com
  • Maritime Farrier School
    R.R. 3
    Truro , Nova Scotia B2N 5B2 Canada
    web site: www.maritimefarrierschool.com
  • Merced College
    3600 M Street
    Merced, California 95348 USA
    209-384-6250
  • Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre Farrier School
    147 Saddle Lane
    Waverly, West Virginia 26184 USA
    800-679-2603
    Web Site
  • Mesalands Community College
    Farrier Science Program
    911 S. 10th Street
    Tucumcari, New Mexico 88401 USA
    505-461-4413 Ext:158
    E-mail: eddym@mesalands.edu
    www.mesalands.edu
  • Minnesota School of Horseshoeing
    6250 Riverdale Drive, N.W.
    Ramsey, Minnesota 55303 USA
    763-427-5850
    Web Site 
    E-mail
  • Montana State University Horseshoeing School
    119 Linfield Hall
    Bozeman, Montana 59717 USA
    406-994-3721
  • North Carolina School of Horseshoeing and Equine Lameness
    P.O. Box 921
    Pilot Mountain, North Carolina 27041 USA
    336-994-9497
  • Northwest College
    231 West 6th Street
    Powell, Wyoming 82435 USA
    307-754-6601
  • Northwest Community College
    Box 1277
    Houston, BC V0J 1Z0 Canada
    250-845-7266
  • Northwest School of Horseshoeing
    Route 2, Box 232-A
    Walla Walla, Washington 99362 USA
  • Oklahoma Horseshoeing School
    Route 1, Box 281
    Purcell, Oklahoma 73080 USA
    800-538-1383
    Web Site
  • Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School
    Route 1, Box 28B
    Ardmore, Oklahoma 73401 USA
    405-223-0064
    Web Site
  • Olds College
    4500-50 Street
    Olds, AB T4H 1R6 Canada
    403-556-8251
    403-507-7966
    web site: www.oldscollege.ab.ca
  • Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, LLC
    5225 Carbondale Road
    Plymouth, California 95669 USA
    209-245-3920
    fax: 209-245-3956
    web site: www.farrierschool.com
  • Pennsylvania Institute for Horseshoeing
    3586 Big Dream Lane
    Tyrone Pennsylvania 16686 USA
    814-692-7496
    web site: www.pafarrierschool.com
  • Pikes Peak Community College
    322 Sunbird Cliffs Lane, West
    Colorado Springs, Colorado 80919 USA
    719-540-7348
  • Prairie Farrier School
    Box 468
    Clavet, Saskatchewan
    Canada S0K 0Y0
    (306) 717-7635
    web site: www.prairiefarrierschool.com
  • Shur Shod Horseshoeing School
    P.O. Box 119
    Cimarron, Kansas 67835 USA
    316-855-2303
  • Sierra South Horseshoeing School
    25040 Old Julian Highway
    Ramona, California 92065USA
    760-788-8115
    E-mail: info@sierrahorseshoeing.com
    Web site: www.sierrahorseshoeing.com
  • Sunshine Coast Farrier & Blacksmith Academy
    Lot 1-2 Grady’s Lane
    Kin Kin, Australia
    07-54854678
    mark@smartfarrier.com
    www.smartfarrier.com
  • Sul Ross State University
    Box C-110
    Alpine, Texas 79832 USA
    915-837-8200
  • Texas Horseshoeing School
    Box 188
    Scurry, Texas 75158 USA
    214-452-3159
  • Tim Goolsby Farrier Apprentice Program
    4565 Sherrilltown Road
    Watertown, Tennessee 37184 USA
    615-237-3755
    www.goolsbyfarrierprogram.com
  • Tucson School of Horseshoeing
    2230 N. Kimberlee Road
    Tucson, Arizona 85749 USA
    520-749-5212
  • Turley Forge Blacksmithing School
    (This school emphasizes blacksmithing.)
    919-A Chicoma Vista
    Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA
    505-471-8608
    Web site: www.turleyforge.com
  • Victory Mountain Forge Farrier School
    9163 E. Merrick Road
    Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 83246 USA
    208-776-9825
    Website: www.victorymountainforge.com
    E-mail: info@victorymountainforge.com
  • Village Farrier School
    51566 Range Road 223
    Sherwood Park, AB T8C 1H4 Canada
    780-922-3672
    www.villagefarrier.com
    e-mail: andy@villagefarrier.com
  • Walla Walla Community College
    500 Tausick Way
    Walla Walla, Washington 99362 USA
    509-527-4291
  • Western School of Horseshoeing
    2801 W. Maryland Avenue
    Phoenix, Arizona 85017 USA
    602-242-2560
    800-542-2560
    fax: 602-242-6670
    www.western-horseshoeing.com
    e-mail: westernt@qwest.net
  • Wolverine Farrier School
    3104 E. Stevenson Lake Rd.
    Clare, Michigan 48617 USA
    989-386-7430
    www.wfschool.com

The Salary of a Farrier

Are you wondering what to charge for your shoeing services? Maybe you’re a horseowner and have some questions about budgeting for proper hoof care for your horses. Here’s an interesting article from the Houston Chronicle regarding Farrier Salaries, including some of the training and credentials that can increase a farrier’s earning potential.
Read the full Farrier Salary article here

Frog infection treatment

Effective frog infection treatment includes thorough cleaning under the sloughing frog tissue and in the compromised cleavage area of the central sulcus. The best way to accomplish this is with soaking in a Borax solution or Clean Trax.

For the Borax solution, mix 1 Tablespoon of Borax with 1 gallon of water. I’ve found that Borax doesn’t liquify in cold water, so I mix the Borax first with a 1/2 cup of warm to hot water, then add it to a gallon of water in a bucket. I put the soaker boot on first, then add the Borax solution with the measuring cup. Soak each infected hoof for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the boot with the soak and dry the hoof with a rag.

Next I inject a dose of ToMorrow® cephapirin benzathine for Dry Cows into the sulcus crack. The shape of the Opti-Sert® tip makes it super easy to inject the medication deep into the crack where it’s most effective for healing the frog. Runoff from this treatment will also help reverse thrush around the frog.

Does your horse have a frog infection?

deep equine frog infection
Frog infections are painful!

IMG_2706

Frog infections are more common than most horse owners realize. Infection in the frog causes lameness and soreness issues that can be overlooked or mis-diagnosed when a horse is shod. If you horse is suffering from frog infection, you’ll see separations and sloughing in the frog tissue. Frog tissue separation traps mud and manure, causing a perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to thrive. The bacteria and fungus invade the central sulcus of the frog, creating a deep crack that can penetrate into the soft tissue of the coronet band. A healthy frog does not have this cleavage crack.

Frog infections contribute to heel contraction and alter a horses’ gaits. Diagnosis and diligent treatment are important in reversing and healing infection in the frog. In our next post, we’ll discuss treatment options and monitor treatment progress in healing this painful hoof condition.

Hoof Knife Quality

As a farrier or hoof trimmer, do you share in the challenge of keeping a good edge on your hoof knifes?

There is nothing more dangerous then a dull hoof knife.

First, you must start with a high quality steel hoof knife blade.  High-grade steel will always hold an edge better and longer.  We suggest the carbon steel blades made by F. Dick.  As a general rule of thumb, high carbon steel is harder than stainless steel and will stay sharp for a longer period of time.

Second, take the time to learn how to properly sharpen your hoof knifes.

How to sharpen your Hoof Knives:

How to sharpen a hoof knife.
How to sharpen a hoof knife.

To sharpen the hoof knife please draft the blade several times on the inner side (cutting edge) along the overall length of the sharpening steel. The cutting edge should be conducted at an angle of 15-20° along your diamond coated sharpening steel.

High quality farrier tools are a sure fire investment in the success of your business.

Case Study – Humphrey’s weak hoof wall problems

Humphrey is a rescued 18 yo dark bay TB gelding. He was seriously underweight when his new owner found him and brought him home. He was put on a carefully monitored nutrition plan to improve his weight and physical condition and was successfully re-shod with nailed-on HOOF-it Natural Flex plastic horseshoes for additional heel and hoof support. Humphrey was thin but going sound under saddle at all three gaits.

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 7.16.58 PM

April, 17, 2013
During the second shoeing attempt, Humphrey had grown out enough hoof to fully manifest thin weak hoof walls from previous lack of care and nutritional deficiencies. He went totally lame from a farrier’s and horse owner’s worst nightmare – hot nails (hitting him in the quick).

IMG_1248

May – July, 2013
Humphrey’s lameness and poor hoof condition required stall rest and hand walking with limited turnout. His feet were trimmed periodically to re-balance his long toes. Natural Flex plastic horse shoes were applied with Hoof Glue after it was determined he had no abscess problems. His overall condition continued to improve and energy levels during turnout made it difficult to keep the shoes on him for a full 4-5 weeks with this method.

August 7, 2013
Care was taken not to bring Humphrey’s long toe back too quickly. At this point, although his toe was still too long, his hoof balance was steadily improving. Natural Flex plastic horse shoes were again shaped to fit him, leaving room for hoof expansion. The hoof wall was still weak and missing in some areas, so nails were not an option yet. The shoes were applied again with Hoof Glue. After the glue set, Wrap-n-Ride was applied to hold the shoes securely in place. The goal for adding the Wrap-n-Ride, was to increase the possibility that the glued on shoes would stay on Humphrey as his energy and activity level increased. He needed fragile hoof wall protection and prevention of further hoof damage as the healthier hoof growth progressed.

sound_progress_glue-on_Horse_shoe

August 21, 2013 – 2 weeks after application
The shoes are securely in place with slight wear of the Wrap-n-Ride at the toe.

August 28, 2013 – 3 weeks after application
Humphrey is enjoying longer turnouts now.
The shoes are securely in place with more Wrap-n-Ride wear in the toe region.

September 4, 2013 – 4 week follow up
Wrap-n-Ride and the shoes were removed, and Humphrey’s hooves were trimmed to balance. He’s showing solid healthy hoof growth and improvement in the hoof wall. There was a small trace of thrush, so we treated him with the Hoof Maintenance Kit and reshod him with Natural Flex shoes, HoofGlue and Wrap-n-Ride.

November 3, 2013
After 53 days, the September shoeing treatment with Wrap-n-Ride was removed and Humphrey is now barefoot, going sound again at all three gaits under saddle.

 

Lameness Rehabilitation – Symmetry

Lameness rehabilitation is a full-body, symmetry balancing and re-conditioning process. For example, if your horse is experiencing a lameness issue in or near the hoof, you will also notice muscle changes in the haunches, back, shoulder and neck area. Atrophy and weakness on one side and stiffness on the other can occur from lower limb pain compensation and stall confinement. Therefore, effective rehabilitation requires our awareness of how a lameness can affect everything from hoof balance to saddle fit.

It’s common for a lame horse to manifest pain and inflammation in other areas of the body in addition to the source area of the lameness. Tuning our radar to notice symmetry imbalances while we are grooming and working with our horse, empowers us to become more proactive in early detection and in adjusting the horses’ training or rehab schedule to facilitate healing.

Narelle Stubbs’ video slide presentation through the Michigan State MHU program offers relevant information and demonstration photos on this ‘full body’ approach for lameness rehab.

One of the important issues that is addressed approximately 40 minutes into Narelle’s presentation, is to be diligent in monitoring and gradually progressing workout time to insure the horse is worked evenly in both directions and is not overworked. She reiterates the importance of symmetry awareness and demonstrates ‘carrot’ stretch techniques to reduce stiffness and weakness asymmetry in the horses’ core.

Narelle-Stubbs-Lameness-Rehab

Have you worked with a Farrier, Vet, Trainer or Equine Physio Therapist, who is outstanding in lameness rehabilitation? If so please enter their name, profession, and location in the following form:

Carriage Horse Operator Question

“I own a carriage company and the town we service just told us we may no longer use steel horseshoes because they are damaging the roads.   How does your Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoe do on roads?”  – A Desperate Carriage Operator

Our HOOF-it Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoes have proven them selves over and over again.  We have many carriage operations successfully using our shoes for heavy working road horses.  They not only have better traction than steel shoes, they also offer concussion dampening from standing and walking on pavement.  We are proud to offer our alternative horseshoes in a wide array of sizes.  US size 00 all the way through a draft horse size 10.

HOOF-it has been offering alternative horseshoes for well over 15 years.  Our shoes have been used on endurance horses, cow horses, dressage horses, jumping horses, mounted police horses, carriage horses, roping horses, parade horses, vaulting horses, trail horses and many more.

  • Lighter Weight
  • Reduced Concussion
  • Frog support
  • Durability
  • Increased traction on all terrain which prevents injuries to your horse both under saddle and during turn-out.

Draft horses and all horses ridden on pavement perform far better when shod with composite shoes. Composite horseshoeing provides therapeutic benefits for chronic conditions such as ring bone, laminitis and navicular disease. Traditional nail placement is easy due to the transparency of the shoes.

Horse Nutrition

Capstone_Body_Conditioning_Chart

One bit of advice you might hear around the barn is if a horse isn’t in full work, its a good idea to cut back on feed. When you’re making this big decision there are several factors to consider:

Current Weight

If your horse is on the heavy side, then cutting back is a good idea. An overweight horse can develop expensive health problems that won’t occur if ideal weight is maintained during a lower activity timeframe. Some of those expensive health problems include laminitis, fat deposits in the liver (hepatic lipidosis), joint problems, equine diabetes, and Cushing’s syndrome.

“As is the case for other species, obesity appears to promote insulin resistance in horses and it is through this pathophysiological process that many of the adverse medical consequences of obesity are being characterized. Significant current interest is centered on the recognition that insulin resistance plays a role in the pathogenesis of laminitis, a potentially severe and debilitating cause of lameness in the equine species.”
“Other equine medical conditions that are more likely in obese, insulin-resistant individuals include hyperlipemia (hepatic lipidosis) and developmental orthopedic disease (osteochondrosis). Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (equine Cushing’s syndrome) represents another common endocrinopathic condition of older horses associated with insulin resistance.”
[Johnson, Wiedmeyer, Messer, & Ganjam. Medical implications of Obesity in Horses – Lessons for Human Obesity. Jan 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769846/]

If your horse’s weight is ideal or a bit light, you’ll want to utilize a maintenance feeding program that follows proven guidelines based on your horses’ ideal weight. The following chart will help you determine the approximate amount of feed per day for your horse:

equine feeding chart
equine feeding chart

How to figure out your horses’ weight:

weight2

Condition

Another factor in feed adjustment decisions, is the quality of your horses’ hoof and coat condition. Healthy hooves and coat condition are a good sign of balanced nutrition. If your horse falls short in this regard, it’s a good idea to involve your vet in the feed cutting or increasing decision before you run into hoof deterioration problems after the fact.
“Nutrition also plays a key role in hoof health and maintaining proper growth rate. By keeping an animal well fed with the proper nutrients such as zinc and biotin, it is much more likely that they will produce good-quality hoof horn and have stronger feet.”
[Hoof Anatomy, Care and Management in Livestock. K. Hepworth, M. Neary, S. Kenyon. Purdue University http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/id/id-321-w.pdf]

Here’s a handy feed reference chart with nutritional estimates for equine feed:

nutrient1

Premarin Draft Horses – HOOF-it Plastic Horseshoe

Dear HOOF-it Technologies

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how pleased I am with the HOOF-it Natural Flex Horseshoes that we’ve been using on our draft-cross Premarin rescue horses for the last three years. The sizes have worked well for their larger size hooves. We do a lot of trail riding in the Sierras for pleasure and we are also members of the El Dorado County Search and Rescue mounted team, so we cover alot of rocky trails and slippery granite. We love the fact that our horses have traction on granite and pavement while other horses are practically “ice-skating” on slick surfaces wearing metal shoes.

Last year we started taking our Percheron youngster out on the trails, this year at four years of age we had him on the trails preparing him for his search and rescue qualification. Considering that he weighs about 2000 pounds and we’d be on rough terrain, we were curious to see how the HOOF-it shoes would hold up. The shoes are so durable that he actually wore the same pair through two shoeing. I ‘d also like to add that his hooves have never been more healthy. Those of us who have adopted Premarin horses, most of them full-draft or draft-cross appreciate that HOOF-it makes the larger size shoes.

Many Thanks and Happy Trails,
Lisa and Brian Warner

Natural Flex Plastic Horseshoes

 

Your Horse’s Shoe Size

How to measure your horse’s hooves to find the proper shoe size.

In this podcast we discuss finding the proper HOOF-it Natural Flex Horseshoe Size for your horse.

I believe we are one of the only, if not the only, companies that make plastic composite alternatives to traditional steel horseshoes in sizes 00 through 10.

shoe_mesure

 

Treating Thrush

cleaning out the hoof
picking out debris from around the frog

This spring as you go about your routine of picking out your horse’s hooves, you may discover an unusual thick black discharge and foul smell around the frog. These are the early signs of the hoof disease thrush. Thrush is an infection of the frog and of the surrounding tissue of the hoof. The bacteria associated with thrush infect the collateral and central sulci (creases) of the frog. The bacteria thrive on lack of oxygen, breaking down the tissue of the hoof. This breakdown results in the foul odor and black discharge. If thrush is left untreated it can turn into a very painful problem in the heel area of your horse.

A wet environment that is made up of urine and acidity from manure is a breeding ground for the anaerobic bacterium that are attracted to any dead tissue that is on your horse’s frog. Also, people who have horses in a climate similar to the Pacific North West should keep a close lookout for this disease due to the constant dampness. The good news is that thrush is anaerobic, which means that this bacteria cannot live in the presence of air. The best way to avoid it in the first place is to keep your horse’s feet dry and clean so air can reach the tissue of the frog. A daily hoof picking does wonders. If not caught in the early stages the bacteria will form deep seated pockets and literally drill into the frog eating away the remaining healthy tissue.

If you do happen to notice a pungent odor and a black discharge from your horse’s frog, some treatment will be necessary. Mild cases of thrush can be treated by removing dead tissue by trimming, scrapping, and vigorous scrubbing (debriding), of the frog and hoof wall. Moderate cases will need to be scrubbed with an antiseptic and treated daily with a topical spray after trimming and debridement. Severe cases of thrush will need repeated intense debridement followed by sterile bandaging and a quality topical thrush treatment. Your veterinarian may also recommend a tetanus shot.

With a careful eye, good hygiene, and quick treatment if needed, you will be able to prevent thrush from delaying you and your equine partner’s long past due spring ride.

If you have had any experience with thrush please post your comments here and share your knowledge with your fellow horse owners.

Champion Arabian Horse Trainer uses HOOF-it Products

Cari_and_Two_horsesThree-time U. S. National Champion Arabian horse trainer, Cari Thompson, uses HOOF-it products to keep her horses sound and on top of their game.

Hello out there,

My name is Cari Thompson of Cari Thompson Training in Gardnerville, Nevada.

I have been using the HOOF-it acrylic product and the HOOF-it composite horseshoes on my Arabian show horses during training for about 5 years now. The composite horseshoes help relieve sore hooves as well as supporting bad hoof walls and contracted heels. They are also great to help support suspensory ligament damage and lay-ups and can even be used with toe weights to achieve better motion.

Because of the HOOF-it products, I have been able to keep my show horses going well when they perform in the show ring. In fact, I am happy to say that I was fortunate enough to take 2 of the Arabian show horses that have been in training in my barn to Championship wins in both the Open Arabian Hunter Pleasure and the Half-Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse classes at the U. S. Arabian National Horse Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October of 2005. That was quite a thrill!

I want to personally thank HOOF-it Technologies for the wonderful products they provide and for all the help they have given me and my horses. We just couldn’t do it without you!

Evolution of the Horse Hoof

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 9.49.51 AMToday’s horse has existed for roughly one million years. Today’s horse is a one-toed animal; however, this was not always the case. Some fifty million years ago, EOHIPPUS, ran on feet with toes. Its front feet had four hooved toes, its hind feet had three, and its weight was carried on a central pad. Several million years later, its descendant, MESOHIPPUS, had grown twice the size. All four feet had three toes, the central toe being prominent.

Another ten million years passed and the horse became MERYCHIPPUS. The MERYCHIPPUS fed on grass rather than leaves and carried its weight on a single hoof, although two side toes were present.

PLIOHIPPUS, which lived ten million years ago, was the first single-toed horse. It roamed the plains and was able to graze freely and run swiftly from its predators. Traces of the side toes were present on either side of the cannon bone.

EQUUS CABALLIS, today’s horse, is a one-toed animal. The single toe has become a part of the horse’s anatomy.

The hoof wall grows down from the coronary band. It is thick enough to have nails driven into it without splitting, and can be trimmed just like human fingernails.